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Long before the advent of road trip books like John Steinbeck's, Travels with Charlie, or Jack Kerouac's, On the Road, there was Mark Twain's - Life on the Mississippi. This is a two part story - one dealing with Twain's years as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi, and the second part focusing on his nostalgia journey back to the river twenty years later.
The river serves as metaphor for the rapidly changing industrial landscape of mid-19th Century North America. Twain encapsulates the metamorphoses through vignettes and interviews that capture "what-was" and "what-is."
As good in audio as in text, this story will captivate historians and Big Muddy aficionados. It does tend to drag towards the end, though for a purpose. I wouldn't let that keep me from recommending this book. Just listen to it when you have plenty of leisure time or you're on the road again in the Midwest.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
If this book accomplishes anything is that it will teach you just how hard it is to learn the Mississippi River well enough to be a riverboat pilot, something Mark Twain did achieved and wished he had returned to later in life.